Happy Birthday, Bill!
Today (or yes, maybe Tuesday…) is the birthday for the man who changed the English language, William Shakespeare. There’s a fascinating article over on the New York Post about the near-disappearance of all that genius (thanks to The Passive Guy for the link), where only the determination (and financial commitment) of two friends led to the publication of the Folios.
By the 1620s, his plays were no longer being performed in theaters. On the day he died, no one — not even Shakespeare himself — believed that his works would last, that he was a genius or that future generations would hail his writings.
He hadn’t even published his plays — during his lifetime they were considered ephemeral amusements, not serious literature. Half of them had never been published in any form and the rest had appeared only in unauthorized, pirated versions that corrupted his original language.
Sobering, especially for those of us publishing in the digital era, electronics being the very definition of ephemera…
And speaking of The Bard of Avon, many of us in Santa Cruz were saddened when our longtime annual event, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, lost its support and its home at UCSC. And perhaps even more of us were heartened when news came that a new venue had been found, with a new name: Santa Cruz Shakespeare.
They’re building a new home, deep inside De La Veaga Park, which is only a couple of miles from my front door! Suitably enough, the first season will be blessed with Midsummer Night’s Dream (always best in an out-of-doors venue) as well as Hamlet and Virginia Woolf’s gender-bending Orlando.
My friend Lisa Jensen (author of the fantastic Alias Hook) has a fuller blog post about the building process, here. And Santa Cruz Shakespeare will keep us up on their progress here. Send them a donation, if you’re interested in keeping The Bard in Surf City.
See you in the forest of Athens, with Puck and the wedding-goers…